The sim­ple plea­sure of Cafe Good Luck

Cafe Good Luck com­bines cre­ativ­ity with prac­ti­cal­ity to give Dart­mouth a sin­cere throw­back diner ex­pe­ri­ence.



and Sonny Adamski started Man­ual Food and Drink Co. in 2013 to ex­plore their re­spec­tive cre­ative out­lets. What be­gan as a sold-out dough­nut sub­scrip­tion ser­vice soon be­came a well-loved pop-up at mar­kets and fes­ti­vals. Emma baked the sweets, Sonny brewed the cof­fee and to­gether they de­vel­oped a taste for own­ing a busi­ness. “We de­cided to work to­ward open­ing a cafe,” Emma says. “We knew it would be the per­fect use of both our skill sets and in­ter­ests.”

After in­her­it­ing soft-serve equip­ment from Sonny’s par­ents—they once ran a TCBY—the Adamskis started grow­ing a sticky ros­ter of frozen treats. Look­ing for a way to launch their ice cream project, the stars aligned when they stum­bled upon Steve-O-Reno’s iconic drive-thru trailer, which ar­rived on the mar­ket just in time. After cart­ing the ren­o­vated shack to South Park Street, Emma and Sonny opened the Dairy Bar in con­junc­tion with Still­well Beer­gar­den. A sweet piece of eye candy, it im­me­di­ately hooked a ded­i­cated crowd with its soft serve flavours, sun­daes, pop­si­cles and cold brew. “The Dairy Bar be­came its own thing, but it was al­ways a means to an end to start our cafe,” Emma says.

When the Adamskis started look­ing for cafe lo­ca­tions, they asked Gra­ham Read to join them as a busi­ness part­ner. “It’s re­ally nice to have some­one else who can pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive per­spec­tive,” Emma says. Read, who has a back­ground in wood­work­ing and cof­fee roast­ing, had just re­turned from liv­ing in Am­s­ter­dam. Hav­ing grown up in down­town Dart­mouth, he was ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to plant new roots in his com­mu­nity.

A mod­ern take on the Amer­i­can diner ex­pe­ri­ence, Cafe Good Luck opened in Au­gust on Port­land Street. “We have a lot of good spots here al­ready, but the one thing we’re miss­ing is a ca­sual break­fast-lunch spot,” Sonny says. “As Dart­mouth res­i­dents, a lot of the things we of­fer are things we self­ishly wanted for our­selves.”

The cafe’s menu is sim­ple on pur­pose be­cause Emma, the restau­rant’s chef, found that peo­ple have been crav­ing clas­sic, ev­ery­day brunch op­tions. “There is an un­be­liev­able amount of peo­ple who just want quiche and a side salad, or soup with toast,” she says. While the menu changes each week, it re­tains a skele­ton of sev­eral un­chang­ing items, in­clud­ing a quiche, the Mon­sieur— a sand­wich with shaved ham and gruyere be­tween two slices of brioche and topped with torched bechamel— and a badass break­fast sand­wich.

While the menu may not high­light the en­tire scope her culi­nary abil­i­ties, what’s im­por­tant to Emma is that it of­fers dishes peo­ple drop by to or­der ev­ery sin­gle day. “We wanted to make

a place where peo­ple can af­ford to visit of­ten and feel com­fort­able, rather than mak­ing a space that’s just about our own in­ter­ests and pref­er­ences,” she says.

“Ul­ti­mately, it’s about giv­ing peo­ple what they want. As the chef, it’s al­most scarier than putting to­gether fussy, multi-com­po­nent things be­cause every­one has their own ver­sion of these clas­sics. I can get pretty nerdy and spe­cial­ized, so it’s about find­ing ways to have these cre­ative out­lets—like sneak­ing a few fun things on the menu— while still keep­ing our food ac­ces­si­ble.”

Good Luck places equal weight on its drink of­fer­ings, es­pe­cially the caf­feinated ones. “When you’re bring­ing in nice cof­fee from all over the world, you want to make sure it’s treated re­spect­fully and done well,” Sonny says. “If not, what’s the point?” The bev­er­age menu also in­cludes a se­lec­tion of wines and lo­cal beers for when the lights dim slightly and the cafe tran­si­tions into an early-evening hang­out spot.

At less than 1,000 square feet, Cafe Good Luck is a bustling space. From most an­gles, it’s pos­si­ble to catch a glimpse into the kitchen where staff are busy prep­ping and plat­ing meals. Patsy Cline plays in the back­ground as cus­tomers sip cof­fee from Pyrex mugs and take in a clean, clever col­lec­tion of time­less-meets-mod­ern decor. French cleat shelves above the bar al­low a myr­iad of pot­ted plants and knick-knacks to be re­ar­ranged at will and the black ta­ble bases date back to 1906, re­pur­posed by Read to re­tain their his­tor­i­cal in­tegrity. Even the bath­room has been metic­u­lously wall­pa­pered with clip­pings from old mag­a­zines, nov­els and Richard Sim­mons’ campy cook­books. As a so­cial spot in down­town Dart­mouth, Read and the Adamskis wanted to en­sure that Cafe Good Luck was equal parts charm­ing and ac­ces­si­ble for all types of peo­ple.

The seat­ing is a com­bi­na­tion of clas­sic round-backed din­ing chairs and an old church pew that lines the side wall. There’s also a cres­centshaped booth in the front win­dow which has be­come pop­u­lar amongst young par­ents—it’s the per­fect height for strollers and high­chairs. “Seat­ing is re­ally im­por­tant be­cause not every­one is as equally-abled as oth­ers,” Emma says. “We tried to make it ac­com­mo­dat­ing and com­fort­able.”

“We’re start­ing to at­tract peo­ple of all de­mo­graph­ics who are work­ing us into their daily rou­tine. I love our reg­u­lars.”

Good Luck gang: Gra­ham Read, Sonny Adamski and Emma Adamski.

Emma Adamski says Cafe Good Luck is “about giv­ing peo­ple what they want.”

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